Monday, August 18, 2014

When there are only words

This week we toured the 9-11 Museum in New York City. It was overwhelming and still it bothers me as on the day it occurred. The museum strives to preserve the identity of all the victims aboard the flights ,people in the two towers, and the rescuers. Most of the victims' photographs are displayed within the museum. The organizers want to provide their life stories. Some of the victims' families recorded oral histories about their loved ones.
I was impressed with the recorded words that were written and can still be written. The absences of those who perished left a void as deep as the fountains built into the footprints of the north and south towers. The fountains have a well within the center that their depths cannot be seen by anyone standing around the perimeter of the fountains. Here, words were recorded to fill that void and give comfort.
The tour begins with audio recordings of people commenting on where they were on the day it happened. The columns are filled with text from every language. There is also a recording booth for any visitors who wish to record their account of what happened that day.
This column is dedicated to all of the first rescuers who perished in the collapse of the towers.
People wrote messages and left photos as every layer of debris was excavated.

Messages within a mural created by schools
These tablets are for visitors who may wish to write their sentiments. I asked this woman pictured in this photo if she knew someone who perished. She answered yes. 

 The unidentified remains of those who perished are interred behind this wall.

1 comment:

  1. I paid my respects back in 2010. I visited the museum, but also stood in the graveyard of the small church across the road from 'Ground Zero' as it was still called then, watching the construction crews working on the foundations and steel-work of the base of the new 'Freedom Tower'. What really hit me, apart from a sense of disbelief that I was standing just yards from where those awful events unfolded, was this deep, almost tangible, silence, despite being so close to traffic and construction.